It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Raising the Bar on Nigel

Nigel is developing into a chatty little dude. He has a fair number of words, which are, typical for his age, coming out in one- and two-word declaratives. “Telegraphing”, it’s called, because minimum words are used to convey maximum information.

“Kitty! Ball!”

“Yes, the kitty is playing with the ball, isn’t he?”

Nigel has all kinds of words, and we hear them a lot. All except ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. Hmm. Now, I usually have more success with ‘please’, so I’ll often start with it. (Why is please easier? It’s all in the motivation. “Want this cookie? Say ‘please’!” You can see how it’s easier to get out a ‘please’ than a ‘thank you’ – he’s got that cookie stuffed into his mouth to the tonsils: why is further communication necessary?)

The boy has a good vocabulary, and is all about chatter these days. It’s time for some pleases around here.

Nigel is in his high chair.

“Up! Up! Up!”

“Would you like to get down, Nigel?” (Yes, I say ‘down’, he says ‘up’, but we know what we mean.)

“Yeh! Up! Up! Up!”

“Okay. I’ll lift you. Say, ‘Up, please’.”

“Up! Up! Up!”


He gives me a long, level stare.

“Say ‘please’, and you can get down and go play.”

“Wass dass?” Smart kid. It’s the old “Look behind you!” trick.

“That’s a cup. Now, do you want down?”

“Up! Up! Up!”

“Up, Please.”


“Okay then. When you’re ready to say ‘please’, I’ll let you down.” I move into the kitchen. I can hear him through the open doorway. I listen as I do a sink of dishes.

“Out! Out! Out!” Guess he figures it might work better with a different word. Maybe he won’t have to comply with the ‘please’ stuff, if he uses a dif–

“Out, please.”

Nuts. That didn’t work. He opts to just struggle against the seat belt. I can hear him grunting, and then…

“Tuck! Oh, Mah-wee! Leg tuck!”

I pop my head around the kitchen door. In his efforts to free himself without resorting to the dreaded ‘please’, he’s wedged his foot in the chair and is indeed, ‘tuck’. I free the leg.

“Ready to get down?”


“Say ‘please’.”

“Wass dass?”

“Never mind ‘what’s that’.” Let’s try a little motivation. “Do you want to ride the horsie?” The hobby horses are his favourite toys these days.

“Yeh! Hoh-sie!”

“Say ‘please’.”





Silence. I remove myself. Put Timmy down for his morning nap. Read George a story, while Nigel stares reprovingly.

“Done! Down! Up! Down! Out!”


“Where cat?”


“Where Ah-ma?”


“Wass dass?”


Twenty-three minutes…

© 2006, Mary P

September 14, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 17 Comments